The Los Angeles Clippers have played their best basketball
against fellow members of the Western Conference. Surprisingly,
it’s been the far inferior Eastern Conference that most of their
troubles have come against.
Los Angeles will try to return to the .500 mark against the East
when it wraps up a seven-game trip Saturday night against the
The Clippers (15-9) are 3-3 on their trip after a 102-93 loss in
Brooklyn on Thursday dropped them to 5-6 against the East.
Meanwhile, they’re a strong 10-3 against the West, which boasts
nine other teams sitting at .500 or better compared to just three
for the East. Los Angeles is averaging 108.2 points against
conference foes, 10.7 fewer than it averages against East
Those struggles continued in Thursday’s setback with the
Clippers shooting only 37.1 percent from the field and recording a
season-low 15 assists. Chris Paul scored 20 points but matched a
career low with two assists.
“We didn’t have a lot of movement. We were out of our offense
almost the whole night,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We did a lot of
dribbling. We just have to run our normal offense. Not the one we
ran tonight. Clearly, we’ve got to make open shots and we had a lot
of those, but I still didn’t like our movement.”
Blake Griffin had 12 points and 11 rebounds but was just 2 of 8
from the field as he played on a sore ankle. Injuries kept both him
and Paul out of a 98-90 loss at Washington Feb. 4, which ended an
eight-game winning streak in the series. Griffin is averaging 24.0
points and 11.8 rebounds in five career games versus
The Wizards (9-12) are trying to avoid what would match a
season-long losing streak after dropping three in a row. Two have
been in overtime, including Friday’s 101-99 defeat in Atlanta.
Trevor Booker recorded season highs with 24 points and 14 rebounds
and Washington came back from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit but
Al Horford hit the game-winning jumper as time expired in the extra
“I’ll give them credit for staying in the fight and having an
opportunity to win the game,” said coach Randy Wittman, whose team
is 2-4 in overtime. “But when you don’t play for 42 minutes, you’ve
got to play perfect basketball. … I just don’t think we were
ready to play.”
John Wall shot 6 of 22, not coming alive until the fourth
quarter when he tallied 11 of his 13 points. He had been averaging
23.0 points and 10.3 assists over his previous four games.
“We just gave this game away,” Wall said. The fourth-year point
guard said the shots he hit late were “the same shots I took in the
first half, I just didn’t make them. I struggled.”
Washington’s bench was much better than when it scored a
season-low five in Monday’s loss to Denver, finishing with 25,
though it was 10 of 30 from the field.
Martell Webster scored 15 points after sitting out against the
Nuggets due to a sprained ankle, while Nene (Achilles) and Bradley
Beal (leg) remain out.
The Wizards are 4-1 on the second night of back-to-backs.